Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar’s death sentence should be commuted to life term

Delhi, India: In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court today, Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has said that 1993 Delhi blast convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar’s death sentence should be to be commuted to life in prison.

Citing the top court’s January verdict, the Aam Aadmi Party government said, “Bhullar is suffering from mental illness and as per the Supreme Court’s January verdict, his death sentence should be commuted to life.” Along with the affidavit, it also submitted his medical report.

The top court had sought the Delhi government’s opinion on a petition filed by Bhullar’s wife, who has sought that her husband’s death sentence be commuted due to the delay in deciding his mercy petition.

In a landmark ruling last month, the Supreme Court had commuted the death sentences of 15 convicts and found that “inordinate and inexplicable” delays in carrying out an execution are grounds for reducing the penalty.

The judges who handed out the verdict also said that mental illness such as schizophrenia and the use of solitary confinement could make a convict eligible for a reduced sentence.

Bhullar applied to the President for clemency in January 2003; his request was rejected eight years later. Last year, a Supreme Court bench also rejected his plea for mercy, after which he filed another petition for a review.

Mr Bhullar’s family had said that he should not be hanged because he is mentally unwell.

In April last year, the Supreme Court had refused to commute his death sentence to life in prison on the grounds of mental illness and a delay by the President of India in deciding his clemency appeal. His family has been challenging the decision to hang him since then.

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